Thursday, May 3, 2012
Having Your Torta and Eating It Too: Reyes, Bridges, Agents, Rhetoric, The Status Quo, and No Evidence Of Any Alternative Solutions From The Man Who's Been In Charge Of This Issue All Along
While reading this morning's edition of the El Paso Times I was left muttering, yet again: whoever it is that is in charge of helping Congressman Reyes with his message while on the campaign trail, really needs to step it up. Congressman Reyes needed some help last night after another blunder boiled over yesterday with the comments he made at a community meeting that was organized by the Ysleta Independent School District regarding the prospect of a new international bridge being built near Yarbrough Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Here's what the Congressman said and what the El Paso Times reported this morning:
"They don't want you to know the facts," said Reyes, an eight-term Democrat running for re-election. "And as long as I'm your representative, I'm going to block the effort to get a presidential permit."
. . . Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is trying to unseat Reyes in the primary, has said a new bridge is necessary to protect and increase international trade.
. . . Without it, [O'Rourke] says . . . El Paso stands to lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.
. . . But Reyes has said the bridge is not needed. Instead, he says the problem is a lack of customs agents.
. . . Both candidates agree that staffing should be the first priority.
"There are plans in place to find alternative solutions," Reyes said. "We shouldn't have to move one single family to create another congested corridor that we don't have staffing for."
Wow, let's walk through this syllogism:
 El Paso stands to lose millions of dollars in trade and thousands of jobs if it does not improve access to trade and travel between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, according to Congressman Reyes' challenger, and former El Paso City Councilman, Beto O'Rourke--quite frankly, it's awful right now.
 But Reyes says that the solution is not a new bridge; but rather, more customs agents at the bridges we currently use.
 Except that Reyes--who has been in Congress for 8 terms (almost 15 years)--has not been able to secure funding for more customs agents at the bridges that are currently being used in El Paso and which have been understaffed for more than 10 years--despite the tremendous number of connections in Washington D.C., Congressman Reyes says he has, and the extraordinary seniority he enjoys in Congress as an 8 term Congressman who has been the Chairman of at least two major Congressional Committees (Veterans Affairs and Intelligence), and who has recently received the endorsements of Presidents Clinton and Obama.
 Despite the lack of a solid plan of action to solve this crisis or a viable alternative solution, if re-elected, Reyes says that he will continue to block any effort to build another bridge in this area.
 And with regard to the immediate international trade and commerce crisis at our international ports of entry in El Paso, Reyes has--at the very least--told us to rest assured, because there are, "plans in place to find alternative solutions."
Point 5 of the last part of the syllogism is the worst part of Congressman Reyes' response to this issue. Having "plans in place" to "find alternative solutions" could be anything; such as:
 Planning to think about solving this issue over coffee tomorrow morning; or
 Planning to use the internet to Google key phrases about this issue; or
 Planning to ask your mom about it when she gets home this evening; or
 Planning to ask his staff about what their opinions are about finding alternative solutions to this issue while enjoying lunch with them at Chicos Tacos this weekend; or
 Planning to read the newspaper about this issue this Sunday after a great game of golf.
My point is that having "plans in place" to "find alternative solutions" is extraordinarily and intentionally vague, because the Congressman knows himself that he does not have a solution for this issue, but has to come out saying something. It's empty rhetoric, not a plan of action. Geeez, whoever is feeding the Congressman these talking points is doing an awful job.
When you are an incumbent in a tough election, and choose to take up a controversial issue that could have been solved during your term, you aren't going to win your race with a harsh criticism about the change your opponent is allegedly offering, while offering absolutely no evidence of your own efforts to successful solve the problem you've chosen to criticize your opponent about wanting to solve about that issue during his campaign against you for the office you currently hold.
The reality here is that Congressman Reyes is the problem--that's why the community surrounding Yarbrough Dr. is having to have a meeting about the prospect of their lives being disrupted indefinitely; because Congressman Reyes didn't solve this issue during his 8 terms in office in the first place while he was in office--but is still asking you to trust him today to solve this issue, next year, the 9th term around.
To view the El Paso Times article referenced in this blog please go here: